Aaron Swartz has committed suicide. That news struck me hard. I only know him from his web presence but when something came up on my radar with Aaron’s name tag on it, I expected it to be good if not great. I thought he was a wise old man until I found today that he is of my age. Shocker!
This got me thinking. First, he is orders of magnitudes accomplished than I am. second, he is not there anymore. He broke. I can’t help debating with voices in my head about suicide.
I strongly believe suicide is never the answer. What made me think so? I believe there are two reasons. My father was strongly anti suicide. He even refused to attend the funeral of a suicide victim. Now he is not that extremist about it and I don’t know how wrong he was back then but he obviously had a great influence on me. The other reason is one of many ‘religious facts’ I was exposed to in my young age. I am a Buddhist and they said that suicide is one of the greatest sins. Those ideas have apparently made a significant impact on how I look at life.
Suicide is apparently something that happens too frequently in social circles I take part in. The last one that had me concerned was the death of Ilya Zhitomirskiy who was a co founder of Diaspora social network. His death had an effect similar to what I’m currently going through. I was thinking about sucide. In my soliloquy I realized I’m kind of afraid of suicide [Not death. Mind you.] I won’t ever be able to do that to myself. I will fight the fights, veer through the struggles, drag my emotional self thorugh cold and dark caverns of life but not suicide.
One of those days I felt ‘content’, I read about a long prison sentence. I was imagining that happening to me. Spice that up with a crime I never did. I was scared shitless. I thought a long enough confinement would make my life meaningless that I’d rather die. Would I suicide? I couldn’t make up my mind.
Again I was thinking of a time I lose everything that makes me what I am. Losing these abilities to walk, to talk, to think and code. To dream, to laugh, to sing and smoke (just to make it rhyme. Seriously!). That’s scary to be stuck in the cave that is my body. I’d prefer getting euthinized at this stage. See, it’s not suicide. I’m not doing that to myself.
Whichever route I take in my wanders in my thought space, I never ended up at suicide. It’s not a rational move in my book. But taking all those journeys I realized that to one who does not have a mind hardened enough, suicide may very well look like a good option. Even the best. The one last winning move.
The truth is it is not.
“Treasure your life for all the adventures it may take you through.”
PS: I don’t pretend to be that I can walk in the same boots of those who made the wrong decision. I don’t say my thought expeditions are any close to the real shit one would go through. I don’t say I have it all figured out. I just say that I wouldn’t ever make THAT wrong decision. I would not. Check back when I die.